4:00 a.m. 1/15/16/05
I have long since established that two things make any movie better. Cello music and Alan Rickman. Truly Madly Deeply have both, which makes it one of my favorite movies. No, those aren’t the only reasons I like this movie so much, but it’s a good start. In fact, Alan Rickman is a cello player in this movie which is my idea of nirvana. Granted, he’s a dead cello player, but a grrl can’t have everything, can she?
There’s one other thing I have to say about this movie, however. It reinforces my belief that Brits cannot do romantic comedies. I put this movie on my Netflix Queue—well, first of all, because it’s Alan! Playing the cello!—because I thought it was going to be like Ghost, but without that annoying Whoopie Goldberg role. You know, a dead man gently haunting his lover who can’t get over him. I thought there would be laughs abound since he invites his dead friends to chill with them in her flat. It was supposed to be funny!
To be fair to the movie, it has its funny bits. Many, to be sure, but…well, let’s just say I bawled during this movie as well. Perhaps it’s the mood I was in while watching it, but I still cry every time I watch certain scenes. So, I would say it’s got its comedic moments but it’s not a comedy overall. There are too many truly touching moments to cast it into that category. There is also Alan Rickman’s porn mustache which is good for a laugh, but that’s another thing altogether.
It’s easy to see that Nina (Juliet Stevenson) and Jamie (Rickman) have a rapport that isn’t faked. When I learned that they have worked together in the past, it made sense to me. The grief Nina shows long after her beloved dies is heart wrenching. Stevenson sometimes heads for over the top, but she usually manages to rein it in before toppling over the edge. I also like the fact that’s she’s not stunningly attractive, which she would be if this were an American film. It’s odd, though, because there’s a scene where every male on screen comments about how beautiful she is. I don’t get it as she’s not that good-looking.
The pacing of the movie feels real. There is nothing big in this movie, only small, realistic touches. The therapist scenes don’t feel quite authentic, but I’ve given up on expecting accurate depictions of therapy on screen. The way Nina struggles to accept her lover’s death is very real, and I can’t help but be touched by it. One small misstep in this movie is the Polish man who’s wooing Nina. He’s so over the top, it’s hard to take him seriously. Fortunately, he doesn’t show up very often, so I don’t have to be too bothered by him.
The subplot with Nina’s tutee—she tutors Spanish-speakers in English—is lovely, but it’s clearly a plot device. I can accept that however, as most the scenes with the two of them feel right. Ditto with the new guy in Nina’s life. He’s more a symbol than anything else, but it doesn’t detract from the main story—which is the relationship between Nina and Jamie. I don’t care if he’s returned from the dead—it’s wonderful to behold the love they have for each other—especially he for she—and to see how joyful she becomes when she accepts that she’s not hallucinating. The scene in which the two of them warble their way through a song as he plays the cello then she plays the piano is one of my favorites.
There are many nit-picky things wrong with this movie which don’t bother me in the least. Normally, I am one of those people who rolls her eyes at plot devices or any other kind of contrivances while watching a movie. In this one, I am so caught up in the two main characters and the unfolding story that I don’t care at the other stuff. It’s just background noise to the symphony which Nina and Jamie are playing.
I strongly recommend this movie for your Netflix Queue with a caveat: Keep your heart open and your inner critic at bay. This is not a movie to analyze and dissect while you’re watching it, or even when it’s over. This is a movie to watch and savor for what it is—a paean to the wondrous, messy, painful thing we call love.